Marcel the Shell With Shoes On would be annoying if it wasn’t so damn good. Following the adventures of the titular shell (co-created and voiced by Jenny Slate) to find his family, the 2022 film is just incredibly heartwarming. It could have been much too twee, but it’s far too genuine for that.
The film manages a balancing act between the amusement of Marcel’s antics in their own right (how he cleans his house, his pet lint named Alan) and the heartbreak of his situation: Marcel’s family has gone missing, leaving him only with his grandmother, Nana Connie (voiced by Isabella Rossellini). The strength of the drama stems from a deeply human characterization of these one-inch shells.
It also has a strong subplot about a documentary filmmaker named Dean (played by Marcel co-creator and film director / co-writer Dean Fleischer Camp) as he moves on from past relationships, and I really liked how he learns from Marcel as the film develops.
Wisely, no one bothers to interrogate the reality of Marcel’s existence; everyone simply takes him at (cute) face value. It grounds the film as a remarkable piece of work that also just makes you feel good, and I hope Fleischer Camp continues to deliver such great work in the future.
Via Vision’s Region B Blu-ray release is a fairly barebones affair. It’s hard to complain given the film’s quality, but extras are always nice. Still, at least Region B consumers have access to a fine film in a good format.